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The Innate Mind, Volume 3Foundations and the Future$
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Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence, and Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332834

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332834.001.0001

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The Moral Mind

The Moral Mind

How Five Sets of Innate Intuitions Guide the Development of Many Culture‐Specific Virtues, and Perhaps Even Modules

19 The Moral Mind
The Innate Mind, Volume 3

Jonathan Haidt

Craig Joseph

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how morality might be partially innate, meaning organized, to some extent, in advance of experience. It begins by arguing for a broader conception of morality and suggests that most of the discussion of innateness to date has not been about morality per se; it has been about whether the psychology of harm and fairness is innate. Five hypotheses about the origins of moral knowledge and value are considered, and one of them (a form of flexible and generative modularity) is endorsed as being the best candidate. The importance of narrativity in moral functioning is discussed. In some respects, this is another corrective to what is seen as an overemphasis on deductive and calculative conceptions of value and rationality among both philosophers and psychologists. It is shown that a narrative approach to morality fits well with the nativist ‘five foundations’ view developed in the first part of the chapter, and also helps to explain how the intuitive, evolved foundations of morality are elaborated by cultural activity into the complex, diverse moral functioning that mature human beings display.

Keywords:   morality, innateness, harm, fairness, constructivism, connectionism, modularity

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